It was predictable and inevitable that, following the 2012 national elections,
there would be a great deal of finger pointing, blaming and other forms of
recriminations by conservatives and Republicans turned against each other.
This has now happened, and is happening, across the nation.
It does not do any of the participants in this political cannibalism much, if
any credit. The biggest beneficiaries of this spectacle are the Obama
administration and the Democrats.
One focus of this bitterness has been the announcement by GOP political
strategist Karl Rove that he would reconstitute his huge political PAC for
2014 with special emphasis on ensuring that Republicans have "electable"
nominees for the many likely contestable U.S.senate races next year. This
was received by some grass roots conservatives as an attempt to prevent
candidates they might favor from being nominated in 2014. Charges and
recriminations have gone back and forth.
My friend Michael Barone has recently acutely written that the quality of
candidates, not ideology, is the real issue. Some so-called "Tea Party"
candidates, most notably Marco Rubio in 2010 (but others as well) have
turned out to be excellent candidates and, later, public officials.
It should not be forgotten that the GOP Missouri senate nominee would
not have been in the November race in the first place if it had not been for
his Democratic opponent breaking the rules by actually aiding him in his
nomination contest and enabling him to be on the ballot. Nor should it be
forgotten that the GOP Indiana nominee defeated a long-time GOP
incumbent in the primary, an incumbent who would have easily won
re-election. In North Dakota, in the race for an open seat, the GOP
nominee ran against perhaps the best new Democratic candidate in the
nation. On the other hand, GOP senate nominee Ted Cruz beat the Texas
Republican establishment candidate, and the election. Mr.Cruz is already
making his mark in the U.S.senate. As Mr. Barone has argued, it is the
candidate, not the ideology.
This attempt to pit the Republican "establishment" against the Tea Party
or other conservative groups is a recipe for defeat in 2014. It goes both
ways. Far right noise about challenging Tennessee GOP senator Lamar
Alexander can only make a sure seat vulnerable, as happened in 2010 in
Delaware and Nevada.
Mr. Rove is getting a bad rap, but to be fair, he perhaps did not explain
himself very well, and invited a negative response. This present turmoil
will likely continue for a while, but as 2014 approaches, Republicans had
better expiate their internal grievances, or its promising opportunity, just
as it had in 2012, will be lost.
A party cannot govern if it cannot win. Those who say they don't care
about winning elections should not be in the political business, and in
fact, they won't be for very long.
Copyright (c) by Barry Casselman. All right reserved